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The Oldest 'Rookie' On The Cowboys Roster

The team brought in former fourth-overall draft pick Darren McFadden over the off season and the former Raider says the move has breathed fresh life into his career.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

There were more popular choices that could have been made to fill the void left when DeMarco Murray departed for the 'greener pastures' of Philadelphia, but there may not have been a choice that has more to prove. Darren McFadden was once a prolific producer as a collegiate running back but once he reached the professional ranks that production disappeared. There were flashes of what he displayed as an Arkansas Razorback, but they were few and far between. Injuries, and the lack of a solid corps of blockers in front of him, conspired to turn McFadden into an afterthought as a back.

The move to sign with the Dallas Cowboys will resolve at least one of McFadden's problems. If he cannot be a contributor behind this squad's front five it is not going to be the fault of the offensive linemen. The Cowboys have one of the top groups of blockers in the business. Seven years removed from his professional debut, McFadden says that he feels like a rookie again.

"It's great to be in Dallas. I'm looking forward to getting on the field with those guys and doing great things this year. ... Definitely exciting. I tell everybody I feel like a rookie all over again. I just want to go out there, stay healthy and run the ball the way I know I can run the ball." - Darren McFadden

It has to be a relief to know that he is going to have an offensive line in front of him that features several Pro Bowl blockers. Darren is not going to have to do all of the work himself. Let's face it, andy job is easier when you have quality help to accomplish the task. That group of linemen should also mitigate the pounding that has taken its toll on McFadden's health over the years. In Dallas he will also be able to share the responsibilities for pounding the rock with the other backs, rather than being the sole workhorse. The combination will allow him to take less of a pounding as the season wears on.

No one seriously expects the type of effort that Darren McFadden gave as a Razorback in 2007. That is unrealistic. As a role player in Scott Linehan's offense he will be able to contribute in a way that will maximize the return on Jerry Jones investment while hopefully minimizing  his own exposure to the factors that have served to limit his production throughout his career.

Dallas is a good place for Darren McFadden to breath new life into his career, and perhaps to once again experience the gridiron success that was a part of his younger days. It is easy to see why he would be excited for the next phase of his football life to get under way.

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